Saturday, April 25, 2015

You're Invited: May 2015 First Friday Artwalk

Put on your strolling shoes and come downtown for Winslow's May First Friday Artwalk!  We are proud to
showcase Jen Till's atmospheric landscapes, seascapes, and an occasional winged creature.  Join us to view the latest from this wonderful artist, have a sip of wine, enjoy a bit of conversation with the local art crowd and - what a treat! - listen to music from everyone's favorite gypsy jazz band, Ranger and the Re-Arrangers!

Follow us here or on Twitter for instant updates:  @islandgalleryBI

Beyond.  Jen Till.  Oil on canvas.  30" x 40".

Studies in Light and Space
The Art of Jen Till

May 1 – June 28, 2015

New Oil Paintings on Canvas and Paper
from Bainbridge Island Artist
Jen Till

Opening Reception
First Friday, May 1st, 6-8 pm

In concert:

Ranger and the Re-Arrangers
Bainbridge Island’s Own
Gypsy Jazz Band

About the Artist:  Jen Till spent her childhood years in a seaside village, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, along the New England coast.  Surrounded by the seasons during her formative years led Jen to look to nature as the basis of all her work as a painter today.

Her love of painting began at a young age.  Jen's childhood experience in her New England surroundings was filled with the richness of colorful, sweeping fall, quiet, bleak winter, spring's lush bloom, and summer with its green warmth. Inspired by her many creative family members, she was fortunate to be entirely embraced in her budding love of art throughout childhood.  Jen went on to the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied Painting and Textiles.  After graduating, Jen moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she began to explore painting the vast landscape and light of the Southwest.

Eventually making her way to the West Coast, Jen now lives, paints, teaches and works as a freelance textile designer on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Jen, in the Gallery with "Calm Sea"

I am inspired by the many ways light casts itself on our earth. Moments in my life when I behold such beauty inspires me to create its memory in my work. Nature provides me with a foundation upon which I can build paintings to express a wide range of feeling.

The process I use is meditation with my brush in hand. This enables my creative energy to flow, uninterrupted and fueled by intuition. By creating layers with glazes I try to explore the inherent aspects of paint itself while keeping my mind focused on a feeling and place. 

My painting experience grounds me and reminds me to be aware of the presence of spirit in all of life's moments.

I search for this essence and mystery as I dwell on a place filled with light. My hope is to engage the viewer and to share the mystery and calm I so cherish. My work reminds me that by painting the experience of the material world around me I can move toward the intangible, ethereal mystery of life.

Small Quail.  Jen Till.  Oil on paper. 7" x 4".

Vermont Barn.  Jen Till.  Oil on paper.  7" x 7".

About the Band:  Bainbridge Island’s Ranger and the Re-Arrangers play “Gypsy jazz” or “hot jazz,” an upbeat style created in the 1930s by Django Reinhardt and other European stringplayers who embraced American jazz. The band’s repertoire appeals to everyone who enjoys swing standards, traditional Gypsy jazz songs, and world music originals. The band features young violin “phenom” Ranger, whose creative, syncopated leads complement the band’s steady, swinging rhythms.

Ranger Sciacca’s performances and compositions reflect his extensive studies in classical, jazz, and folk music. His Suzuki teacher, Alice Kanack, publishes books and CDs on improvising classical music. Ranger also studied folk and dance music for seven years with renowned Seattle fiddler Stuart Williams. Ranger’s main influences include guitarist Django Reinhardt and jazz violin greats Stuff Smith, Claude Williams and Stephane Grappelli. Ranger studied jazz theory and history at Whitman College.

Michael Sciacca, Ranger’s dad, has been his rhythm guitarist for many years; they have performed as a swing jazz duo since 2001.
Percussionist Jeffrey Moose has a 30-year career in both music and fine art. His collaborations and band projects include work with Joined at the Head, Heliotroupe, Dog Superior, Stiff Kitty, Atoke, Zayah Emmanuel, and Sam Andrews, founder of Big Brother and the Holding Company. He is currently director of Jeffrey Moose Gallery in Seattle.

Mandolin player Dave Stewart is a classically-trained pianist.

Event Location:  The Island Gallery, 400 Winslow Way E., #120, Bainbridge Island, Washington.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

April 2015 Gallery Picks Newsletter

April showers bring...  beautiful art.

Must we say more?

Oh, all right; as you insist (and we are eager to say quite a bit more), we are delighted to show off more marvelous works from our marvelous artists.



Flare. Alan Vogel
This is one of those unexpected pieces of art that, one
might say, is wrought by nature, refined by man.

Alan Vogel of Bainbridge Island has exactly the well-tuned eye
required to take what looks to many of us like an ordinary
piece of maple, make a few well-placed cuts, smooth and finish,
and unleash its silent beauty.

And what lively beauty Alan has found here:
A sun burst, a solar flare, fingers of flame.

Without the true eye and gentle hand of a committed artist this
kind of art would remain unseen, even though it is quietly being produced
by Mother Nature, all around us, all the time.

Let us all think about that for a moment.


(Pause to think...)


But while we're on the subject:

Another extraordinary piece by Alan, this one has quite
a different feel to it, although it is no less extraordinary than Flare.
A beautiful slab of walnut, handles are carved from the wood on either
side, and it is finished to a high gloss, durable finish.

This would make an exceptional centerpiece on a
dining table or sideboard.  The hewn "bowl" is off center,
and could accommodate a variety of small offerings - even
a glass container filled with floating petals or candles.

Beautiful, serene, and simply fabulous.

Bravo, Alan!


Indigo Table Runners.  Rowland & Chinami Ricketts

Rowland Ricketts utilizes natural dyes and historical processes to create
contemporary textiles that span art and design.  Trained in indigo farming and dyeing
in Japan, Rowland received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005 and is
currently an Assistant Professor in Textiles at Indiana University’s Henry Radford Hope
School of Fine Art.  His work has been exhibited at the Textile Museum (Washington, DC),
Cavin-Morris Gallery (New York), and Douglas Dawson Gallery (Chicago) and
has been published in Textiles Now, FiberArts, Selvedge, Surface Design Journal,
and Hand/Eye Magazine.

Chinami is a weaver who crafts traditional narrow-width yardage for kimono and obi
using historical kasuri (ikat) techniques. After studying indigo dyeing in her native
Tokushima, the center of indigo cultivation and processing in Japan, Chinami
pursued an apprenticeship with Yumie Aoto, where she learned the kasuri and
weaving techniques that form the foundation of her work today.

Read  Rowland and Chinami's discussions on their philosophies and
raison d'etres on their online shop home page. (Info coming soon.)

The following are excerpts from an article that recently appeared in
American Craft Magazine:

Rowland Ricketts is happiest when he’s blue – or at least when he’s planting,
harvesting, composting, and fermenting the dye-producing indigo plants he
cultivates with his wife, Chinami.

The couple met in 1997 when both were apprentices at the Furusho indigo

dyeing studio in Chinami’s hometown of Tokushima, Japan. Since 2006, they
have lived in Bloomington, Indiana, where Rowland is assistant professor of
textiles at Indiana University. Along with teaching, farming, and dyeing, Rowland
channels indigo’s energy into art installations that draw attention to the source and its
centuries-old traditions. For Chinami’s part, she more sparingly incorporates indigo
in the yardage she weaves for kimonos and obis (sashes) using
the dye-resist ikat technique.

It was in high school that Rowland first visited Japan, a trip that propelled
him to study Japanese at Wesleyan University. After college, he took a
job teaching English at a rural Japanese high school and lived in an old
farmhouse, where he met people working with natural dyes, inspiring
him to learn the process.

After their apprenticeships at the Furusho studio, the couple lived in Japan for
several years, with Chinami apprenticing with Yumie Aoto, a well-known ikat
kimono fabric weaver, and Rowland farming indigo and dyeing textiles
for clothing and interiors.

They moved to the United States in 2003. Rowland earned an MFA in fiber at
Cranbrook, followed by a one-year residency at Arrowmont School of Arts
and Crafts, and then the teaching job in Bloomington; they bought their six-acre
farm just outside of town in 2008.

His installations, which focus on the plant and its deep hues, have included blue
felted stones, billowing and bulbous sheets of cloth, videos of the plant, and
even dried indigo leaves that gallery-goers can touch.

The couple’s farming has been made easier with the purchase of a Japanese indigo
harvester, funded through a United States Artists Fellowship awarded to
Rowland in 2012. Still, the agricultural and extraction processes are laborious
and lengthy – just under a year from dirt to dye. They need 440 pounds of dried
indigo leaf to sustain the composting process for 100 days and concentrate the dye.
The composted leaves are called sukumo, which is then fermented in an alkali
liquid made from wood ash and limestone.

After years of working largely independently, the partners, who are both 44
and have three young children, will soon begin collaborating on home products.
Adding a production line creates a need for more indigo, and, like a chef
lining up local produce suppliers, Rowland is expanding indigo production
to nearby organic farms.

“I see it as a very meaningful way of bringing this dye and these plants into the
community,” Rowland says. “That’s one of the things I love about the
tradition – it’s so much bigger than the individual.”

-From "Dirt To Dye" by Diane Daniel
American Craft, April/May 2015


Pole Dancer.  L. Wendy Dunder, Illuminated Sculpture
Wendy's stunning us again with a new group of remarkable illuminated sculptures.
This one is a long sconce, so is perfect as a glowing wall accent,
and would make a welcoming statement in an entry or hallway.

Below is her latest flower-themed table lamp, in color and
design a delightful touch of spring.

Tulip.  L. Wendy Dunder, Illuminated Sculpture
We have several more new pieces from Wendy
available in the Gallery (and soon in the online shop, here).


Hipflower.  Melissa Balch

We are happily rediscovering this wonderful piece, which was
featured in our past Exhibition: Wood-Fire & Ikebana, honoring
traditional Japanese flower arranging and featuring ceramic art pieces
specifically suited to that fine art form.
Melissa has just returned it to us, which has piqued our
creative urges:  the flower tops are removable, so the base
can be filled with water to a mid-point level to accommodate
fresh-cut flowers, or it can be left dry for an arrangement of
grasses, twigs or flowering branches.  It features sturdy construction,
excellent color from the kiln and is a rather large piece,
functionally considered a triple vase.

Here's a little about the artist:

Melissa Balch took her first ceramics class in 2006 and was totally smitten.
Many of her pieces are hand-built using the ancient coil technique.
She has wood-fired with the fine people at Seabeck and Port Orchard, and
soda fires at Pottery Northwest in Seattle. She has traveled and shown her work
in China, Korea and in the Pacific North West.
She lives and work in Tacoma, Washington, and is firing most
of her current work at Tacoma Community College. 

In Melissa's own words:

Art, life, process, it is all one; whether drinking tea, meditating,
digging in the soil, forming the cool clay with my hands, drinking
deeply from nature.
Life is art in flow, giving in to the greater mystery.
The stillness of sitting, meditating, observing my thoughts as they pass
like clouds through the sky.
Moments of clear sky, no thought, of observing, noticing the thought-cloud.
Just sitting, nothing special but also vast beyond words.

Working from empty-mind, no judging, no second guessing, my hands moving,
forming the clay.
Like a tactile meditation I respond to the medium in an intuitive manner.
The ceramic process allows me to explore and play…..form arising from stillness.
It offers me a way to reconnect to the mystery of spirit.


Tree Kangaroo.  Andrea Lawson
As a general rule we try to avoid using the word "cute"
when referring to our artist's hard-wrought creations.
In this case, though - well, we have to say it!

This adorable little fellow is a small acrylic painting on board and
nicely shows off Andrea's whimsical side, seen in her children's illustrations.
Andrea's paintings, drawings and prints, for which she has received multiple
awards, have been exhibited across the United States and  Europe.
She will be a featured artist in our August 2015 show, so please
watch this space for more information as summer rolls along.

A few words from Andrea:

  I like to experiment with many materials including pencil, charcoal, ink, acrylic,
oil paint, watercolors, pastels, printmaking and found materials.
Inspired by music, dance and nature, my paintings are produced through
a voluptuous layering of paint and vital gesture.  My work is intensely
process-oriented,  born of my ongoing engagement with the emotion,
mystery and magic of applying paint to canvas.
In the context of our contemporary, technology-driven world,
my paintings act as environmental expressionist auguries, offering the viewer
a feeling of reconnection with nature and participation
in the enigmatic dance of life.
     The view from my studio is always a mysterious adventure.
 Sometimes I see schooners that  turn out to be pirate ships, blue herons
that are part dragon, and northern elephant seals romping with flying selkis. 
      I  am a published and listed member of The Society of Children's Book
Writers and Illustrators.

Andrea's studio overlooks The Port Townsend Bay where she lives with her husband,
Michael Hamilton, a furniture designer, and their two dancing daughters.

Now, about our adorable (cute) little fellow:

The only true arboreal members of the kangaroo family, tree-kangaroos
inhabit the tropical rainforests of New Guinea, far northeastern
Queensland, Australia, and some of the islands in the region. Although most
species are found in mountainous areas, several also occur in lowlands.
Most tree-kangaroos are considered threatened due to hunting and habitat destruction.

Tree-kangaroos have a much larger and pendulous tail than terrestrial kangaroos,
giving them enhanced balance while moving about the trees. Tree-kangaroos are
slow and clumsy on the ground. They move at approximately human
walking pace and hop awkwardly, leaning their body far forward to balance
the heavy tail. However, in trees, they are bold and agile. They climb by
wrapping their forelimbs around the trunk of a tree and, while allowing the
forelimbs to slide, hop up the tree using their powerful hind legs.
They are expert leapers.

(Oh, and yes, they are cute.)

Tote, with Image from Original Artwork.  Karen Chaussabel
Karen Chaussabel of Bainbridge Island is new to The Island Gallery, and describes
herself as "a mixed media artist in the making", working on paper, creating
encaustic monotype, using inks, pencil, and fibers.  She will be a featured
artist in our July 2015 exhibition.

After admiring her work, we discovered that she also has a
strong entrepreneurial bent: she makes wonderful journals and
canvas tote bags featuring her original artwork.  The photo
above shows one of several designs she uses in her large, sturdy,
functional and very reasonably-priced totes. Other designs are currently
available in the Gallery; more soon in the online shop.

A peek at her journals:

Journal, with Image from Original Artwork.  Karen Chaussabel
As we approach July we will be adding more of
Karen's work to her online page and also feature further
information about her and her process here on the blog.

That wraps things up for April; May flowers beckon - and so many other wonders!  Come back soon for information on shows, sales and events, and if you'd like our monthly Newsletter notice sent directly to your inbox drop a note to sr [at] the island gallery (one word) dot net; we'll sign you up right away.

As always, thanks for visiting!